President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged his determination to urgently address the infrastructure deficit and related challenges confronting the south-east.
He noted that that the Ibo remain an integral part of the country.
The president made the pledge on Tuesday in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, during a reception held in his honour by the state government at the Government House.
According to the president, his administration would fulfil all promises made to the south-east zone during the visit of its leaders to him, in October.
“The leaders raised several concerns on the condition of roads and other infrastructure in the region and I want to assure that we will deliver on all our promises.
“The 2018 budget captures several strategic projects in the region which includes roads, power, agriculture, social services, among other areas,” he said.
Buhari noted that his visit to Ebonyi was an affirmation of his government’s commitment to achieve a united Nigeria for the benefit of all citizens.
“We are the most populous country in Africa with over 300 ethnic groups as our diversity is unique among nations of the world.
“I thank the citizens of Ebonyi for their warm reception and hospitality since my arrival which has made me happy to be in the state.
“I also commend the state governor for his numerous infrastructural strides of which I have commissioned some projects he initiated,” he said.
He also paid glowing tributes to the late former Governor of the Old Eastern region, Dr Akanu Ibiam whom he unveiled a statue erected in his honour in Abakaliki, by the state government.
“Ibiam is a great Nigerian whose contributions and notable record in humanitarian—free primary education advocacy and rural development have been inspirational to all.
Governor David Umahi thanked the president for the visit, noting that it confounded those who doubted the possibility of his visiting the state.
“We want to thank you for your assistance in areas of agriculture, harnessing of mineral resources among other areas of the state’s development.
“You have assisted us in becoming a force to be reckoned with in agriculture especially in rice production as we assure to redouble our efforts to meet the rice needs of the country,” he said.
Sen. Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi North) and a former Governor of the state who spoke on behalf of the stakeholders, thanked God for restoring the president’s health and granting him the strength to continue piloting the country’s affairs.
“We urge you to ensure the conversation of the state College of Education Ikwo to a federal institution and solving the lingering boundary disputes between it and neighbouring states such as Cross River and Benue,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on arrival, the president inaugurated the twin-multi million naira flyover projects initiated by the state government at the African trans-saharan highway that stretches from Enugu to Cross River and Cameroon.
He also unveiled the statue of the late former Governor of the old Eastern Region, Dr Akanu Ibiam and laid the foundation ceremony of the ultramodern shopping mall to be constructed by the state government.
The president was also conferred with the traditional title of Enyioma 1 (Good friend) of Ebonyi by the state’s traditional rulers council and offered 2, 000 bags of rice, 2, 000 tubers of yam and white horse by the state government.